EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Cowboys had plenty of highlights in their 24-17 win over the Giants Wednesday night at MetLife Stadium. But like always, there are some hidden plays that will get overlooked, but yet played a big part in the final outcome.
Here is a handful of plays that changed this game.
1. Lee's Force – The Giants were threatening to score in the first quarter and had moved the ball to the Cowboys' 29. But Sean Lee darted through the blockers and smashed Giants rookie David Wilson, jarring the ball loose for a fumble, which was recovered by Barry Church. That likely saved three points for a field goal, and possibly more.
2. Tackle's Tackle – Tyron Smith's debut at left tackle won't go down as one of his best games. There were plenty of rough moments for him, especially from a penalty standpoint. But one of his penalties gave the Cowboys four points. After Romo's interception to Michael Boley, it looked like the Giants linebacker was headed for six. That's until Smith stuck his left arm out and tackled him, getting a personal foul horse collar penalty in the process. It put the ball on the Cowboys' 2, but the defense stiffened and forced a field goal for a 3-0 lead.
3. Third-and-1 Pass – The Cowboys had trouble running the ball early in the game and facing a third-and-1 from their own 47, they opted to take it to the air. Romo hit Dez Bryant on a deep ball down the right side line for 38 yards. It set up the first score of the game just two plays later.
4. Murray Keeps Going – On a second-and-3 play midway through the third quarter, it appeared DeMarco Murray was headed for a three-yard loss. Instead, he managed to not only sneak away, but dart down the sideline for a 48-yard run. It's hard to think the longest play of the game would be forgotten, but it only led to a field goal. Still, after the Giants had scored to cut the lead to 14-10, a big run like that changed the momentum back toward the Cowboys.
5. Hatcher Avenges Penalty – With the Cowboys up 17-10, it appeared the defense was getting off the field on a third-down stop, but Jason Hatcher was flagged for a personal foul penalty, hitting Eli Manning in the head and late. It kept the Giants on the field, but three plays later, Hatcher sacked Manning to give the ball back to the Cowboys early in the fourth.
- A dive-yard offside penalty on the Giants gave Cowboys a first down early in the fourth quarter, setting up a TD pass to Miles Austin.
- Kevin Ogletree's 13-yard catch on third-and-10 to seal the game. It doesn't make the list because it's likely not forgotten, but still worthy.